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The State of the Monk: Additional follower or future OP class?

state of the monk in diablo 3It’s no surprise that the Monk class has been in need of some love pre 2.1. However with the second iteration of the patch on the PTR that need has not yet been abided. People are still clamoring for more sweeping changes(pun intended).

I was a heavy Monk user pre ROS and took a break with the xpac to delve into my first love(WD) and my new fling(crusader). I returned to the Monk only a few weeks ago and what I found was a shell of what I had left. After suffering for a long time as a WD it was nice when they finally rose to prominence. After a while on the top I wanted a new challenge and set my sights back on my monk, however even this challenge seems to daunting then all that time as a struggling WD. Diablo Forum MVP Druin put together an eloquent look at the myriad issues facing the class:

Hello everyone!

I am back from vacation and I am looking to write up a concise review of where we stand in 2.1.

My plan is to give a quick overview of our major issues then discuss the 2.1 changes and how they affect the various facets of our class.

I will be using this thread to fine-tune what we want to communicate to the devs and then I will make a major “state of monks in 2.1″ thread on the PTR forums to attempt to get some help for our lovely class! :D

1. Current Monk Issues


This is really at the forefront of the monk issues.

Since the release of RoS, monks have been having a tough time with DPS. We have a very limited range of options mostly centering around the skill Exploding Palm. (Un)fortunately EP is being changed as it breaks greater rifts (along with Rimeheart and Furnace) so our only source of widely competitive damage is going away. This leaves monks in a pretty bad spot.

Our spenders do very little damage (I mean VERY little) relative to their cost and our generators are used more as proc-vehicles for Odyn Son, Thunderfury, Shard of Hate and Rime/Furnace more than as sources of damage themselves. This leaves us with our 6pc Raiment of 1000 Storms which makes DS proc a 3000% weapon damage attack on cast. 3000% damage is a lot and it scales with lightning damage gear but DS has a flat-immutable 6 second cooldown. This can be mitigated to some extent by using Jawbreaker to give “free” dashing strike charges but that interaction is quite clunky.

Basically, monks will be forced into a clunky, hard-to-use situationally terrible Storm-breaker set in order to compete with other classes in damage. If they don’t want to use this mechanic, they will do very poor damage.


Next on the list is our ability to survive. This is a more controversial topic with some finding survival to be quite easy and many others finding it to be quite hard. In 2.1 with the change from dex giving dodge to dex giving armor and the change from OWE to Harmony, many monks who had minor synergy with OWE will see a minor tankiness boost. (my Raiment set for example)
On the other hand, monk who are deeply invested into OWE will see a major tankiness loss. (my Shatter-palm set). In either case, both types of monks probably have a lot of trouble living in T6 without 2x Unity or the constant dashing from Storm-breaker. Why is this? Because monks have to face-tank so much stuff.

Our primary source of resource generation comes from skills that require you to be up-close and personal with mobs which means a lot of damage can’t be avoided. To compensate for this, end-game monks are forced to take defensive passives (Harmony) defensive skills (Epiphany-shroud / Serenity / Inner Sanc / Blinding Flash) and CDR in basically every single spec. This is extremely limiting to the monk playstyle though arguably less of a problem than the DPS as the defensive skill/CDR solution does exist.

Additionally, sustain is nearly non-existent. LoH requires primary affixes which takes away from our already terrible DPS, LPS is the same, LPSS both takes primary affixes AND is extremely poor and Globes took a pretty big hit in 2.1. Monks actually have access to healing skills but, for some reason, they are tuned to be SO weak that they are essentially non-existent.

Resource Management

This is a more fundamental problem than the other two issues. Mere number tweaks would likely not result in this issue being resolved.

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A Total Guide to Greater Rifts

Greater Rifts (GRs, initially known as Tiered Rifts) are a higher level of Nephalem Rift, meant to provide a greater challenge and greater rewards for players geared well enough to take them on. Greater Rifts are timed, and *must* be completed within 15 minutes to earn rewards. All treasure in Greater Rifts, with usually a legendary item or two, comes from the DiabloWikiGreater Rift Guardian (GRG) which is an upgraded version of the regular DiabloWikiRift Guardians.

Greater Rift CompletionDifficulty: Greater Rifts are numbered as a measure of their difficulty. A level 1 Greater Rift is very easy, equivalent to Normal difficulty (or less.) Greater Rifts scale up quickly though, and will become challenging for any player ability. Level 8 is equivalent to about Torment 1, Level 15 is equivalent to about [Torment 3, and Level 25 is approximately the same as Torment 6. There should be an infinite number or Greater Rift levels since each one merely increases the hit points and damage of the monsters by some percentage.

Shrines: There are virtually no DiabloWikishrines or DiabloWikipylons in Greater Rifts. Pylons are seen occasionally, but their bonuses last only 15 seconds (instead of the usual 30) and Blizzard specifically said that DiabloWikiConduit Pylons would not be found in Greater Rifts since they are so powerful they would skew the entire rift DiabloWikiLeaderboard system.

Dying in Greater Rifts

Revive at Corpse. No.

No Respecs: Characters can reallocate their Paragon Points while in a Rift, but can not access their inventory or skill menus (DiabloWikirespec) while in a Greater Rift. It is possible to return to town mid-GR, and players can respec and make repairs then, though it’s not recommended since the GR is a timed race. This is a feature designed to limit exploits via equipment or skill changes, so players can’t change gear or skills to be more effective against a single target before they reach the Greater Rift Guardian for instance.

Rewards: Items and gold do not drop in Greater Rifts, and there are no chests or other clickables. All treasure comes from defeating the Greater Rift Guardian, who drops a huge amount of stuff, about double that of a normal Rift Guardian, and has a very high probability of dropping at least one legendary item. (Note that the lack of gold and chests hurts the effectiveness of legendary items such as DiabloWikiGoldwrap and DiabloWikiHarrington Waistguard that proc up in effectiveness via gold pickups or chest/clickables opening.)

Progress Bar: The progress bar in a Greater Rift increases gradually from killing trash mobs, but jumps up by larger amounts for Elite kills. (Elites drop objects that look a bit like gooey health orbs, which count for big boosts in the progress bar when collected.) This is a feature designed to keep players from simply rushing past Elites to more quickly finish the rift by killing trash mobs, as can be done in normal Nephalem Rifts, and players will fill their progress bar more quickly by killing Elites than by skipping them, except in very rare long Elite battles.

Accessing and Process

  1. # Get a Greater Rift Keystone level 1 from completing a Nephalem Rift. – Drop rate still being determined.
  2. Use the GR Keystone to open a portal to a Greater Rift at the regular Nephalem Obelisk next to DiabloWikiOrek.
  3. Kill all the mobs in the Greater Rift before the timer runs out.
  4. No regular or champion mobs drop loot in Greater Rifts.
  5. The Rift Guardian will drop loot regardless if the timer has run out or not.
  6. If the Rift Guardian is killed before the timer runs out he will drop a Greater Rift Keystone.
  7. The Keystone’s level is determined by how quickly the Greater Rift was cleared. The quicker, the higher the GR key fragment.

Progress Bar and Rift Speed

The progress bar in a Greater Rift looks the same as the bar in a normal Nephalem Rift, with two added slider needles, displayed above and below the bar. The total bar coloured in orange, and the icon above it show your current progress towards completing the rift. The icon below it and any colour in blue shows how fast you need to progress to complete the rift in time.

greater rift progress bar

Ahead of the progress time

When players are battling through a Rift that’s just at the limit of their killing power, they will often see their progress dropping behind and the bar showing blue, before they kill a couple of Elites in a row and see the bonus from Elites shoot them back up ahead of schedule.

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Stillman’s Slab #41: Blizzard’s Stance on the Environment

Posted 27 May 2010 by

The environment must diiiiiiiieeee! Basically, you should turn the environment into the Gulf of Mexico. But this weeks discussion is really about the added variety of monsters from the environment who want you and your little sister dead. You better destroy everything in sight just to be safe. Click through below to learn what what Acid Cloud could mean for Diablo 3.

Blizzard’s Stance on the Environment

I don’t know about you, but I am relieved. Instead of the heroes’ culture being all about worshiping a giant, cheesy mecca tree, their job is to destroy the giant mecca trees. For once, the environment is evil and must be put in its rightful lowly place in the ground…which I guess helps the soil anyway? But the soil is probably evil too, so use your ground thumping skills after you kill all the trees. Yes, everything is out to kill you. The Gnarled Walkers look like something from Teddy Ruxpin’s nightmares and are listed in the wiki as animal type of monsters. Diablo 2 had the somewhat similar Acid Cloud which were also categorized as animals. They look like plants to me…


I demand my right to beat up plants like everyone else, but it needs to be official! They ought to be called plants (not animals) because…they are plants, obviously. So why does everything have to be categorized into Acid Cloud types? Why not add a plant type of monster?

There is great potential for other plant monsters such as vines, giant Venus fly traps, cacti of genital molestation, and poisonous shrooms that make your character way too high to function properly. While they are at it, there could be a golem type, spectral type and other monster categories added. Diablo 2 also had structural objects that attacked you. That sounds like another potentially good monster type, especially in a game where the environment itself is destructible. The main point is that demon, animal, and undead are way too few monster types, especially for Diablo 3 which is going out of its way to include far more monsters than Diablo 2 had. Adding more monster types would only affect the % damage and attack rating modifiers to demons and undead (which might not even be in Diablo 3) by adding more fun affixes. And more of everything is a good thing. 

Variety is the key to entertainment, as the famous and true quote goes. Diablo 3 is striving for far more item modifiers anyway, along with more monsters, and probably item types. Anyone ever hear of a gaff, that axe thingy used in the Gameplay Video? Didn’t think so. So why stop there? The Diablo world is big enough now to have many more damage types, monster types, trap effects, gear slots, and so on. Although there are two new gear slots (pants and shoulder armor), there could be more because…more is better. Always.

Having the same four elements (fire, cold, lightning, and poison) chucked at you in Diablo 2 got a little boring. So why not add more of those too? How about acid damage, holy/unholy damage, and pest damage? Acid Cloud is very wrongly counted as poison damage, which is silly. Acids are not poisons or your own saliva would kill you, as would vinegar and gastric juices, all of which work identically to the acid in any Acid Cloud. Apart from making more sense, including more damage types would add more challenge, more time to fully understand and master the game and its monsters, and more resistances which means more diverse loot would be needed. Diablo 3 should strive to outdo past Diablo games in every way rather than just meeting the old standard. 

Why? Well, because there are unforeseen item types, modifiers and possibly even damage types that may become all but ignored in Diablo 3. Look at what happened with Diablo 2: many, many skills are not even looked at by most players anymore. Monster poison damage is useless. There are scores of item modifiers in Diablo 2 that are completely useless and ignored. Traps and their effects are repetitious and pointless. It is best to simply add more of everything to Diablo 3 in anticipation of these problems so the game does not become a contest to see who is best at ignoring things. No one can fully predict the future, but they can add more layers of bricks to their bomb shelter.

It is also just too easy and convenient to toss everything into demon, animal, and undead types for whatever strange reasoning. They could argue that the angry trees out to kill you are ?animalistic? in their actions, or they are not demons nor undead, so therefore, that leaves animal type. But that is just being lazy. The days of laziness should end. Everything in Diablo 3 should strive to make a little more sense. Come on, we deserve at least a plant type after going around slicing swarms of insects to death with a scimitar in Diablo 2, and kicking tiny clay pots open to free pole arms that were folded up in there.

In conclusion, more variety can only be a good thing. It was a little too easy and boring in Diablo 2 to raise all your resistances up (hell, there were only four of them, and poison could be ignored). What if there were more resistances? This would add some serious challenge. It was also too easy to slap on Laying of Hands and do a ridiculous 350% enhanced damage to demons…which were about a third of the monsters in the game! Well, what if there were plant, golem, structural, and spectral types to dilute that power? That would be challenging. What if there was more to traps than, ?This is going to zap me with one of the four elements of which I am 75% immune? and you had to be a bit more careful? Although the traps look much more advanced in Diablo 3, let us hope other aspects follow that example rather than relying on the same minimalist set of rules from Diablo 2. They should just add a ton more of everything. Who knows, maybe they will.

You know, the Gnarled Walker picture kind of looks like my tipsy father. You can see him waving to a crowd of other useless drunks who ought to be put down, and you can almost make out an armful of beverages as he approaches their table. Too bad you can’t make paper out of people instead of just trees…or can you? 

Join me next week as I discuss how my father spent my college fund buying rounds for his drinking buddies, and now I am all grown up and ready to brutally murder all those drinking buddies with power tools plus anyone who I suspect is a bad provider based on simple observation. Oh wait. That’s the next Halloween special. Next week, we will be talking about other artsy stuff in Diablo 3 like what I did last week. That’s what I meant to say.

Opinions expressed in columns and guest articles are those of their authors, and not necessarily those of

Stillman’s Slab is where all Diablo characters are dissected and examined piece by piece. It is written by Nicholas Stillman to reintroduce Diablo series topics in a new light or put forth novel themes that have not been fully explored in the forums. Slurry collected from the centrifuge will always contain something new and unheard of at the time of publication. Post your comments below or directly.



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